Thinning, Planting, and… Bokashi-ing?

Hello all! As you may know, school is back in session at UAA. This means that the end of the gardening season is nearly upon us, and I still haven’t shared the entire story of the UAA Student Garden! I plan on remedying this shortly. Now, lets start back up from where we left off (before the NYC post).

  

After the UAA Student gardeners attended the bokashi workshop, they held their own work party to apply the finished bokashi to the garden. The work party was initially planned because several observant volunteers noticed that our plants weren’t growing very well. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the plants were very close together. The garden needed to be thinned!

   

If you are unfamiliar with the thinning process (as I was before writing this post), it is pretty much just what it sounds like. After planting each seed with careful hands and gently watering the little sprouts until they grow into adorable little seedlings… you rip half of them out of the ground, giving the lucky survivors room to prosper. It’s pretty abhorrent, right? It goes against our most basic gardening instinct (keep the plants in the ground) but it is a necessary process to ensure our garden is healthy. Plants need room to grow. Seedlings don’t get the proper amount of nutrients, water, or sunlight when we let them get too cozy with their neighbors. So we need to cut that out! Literally.

   

In addition to thinning the garden, we also built some trellises for our peas, which were growing very quickly. This process was relatively easy; we set up stakes and string for the peas to climb on. While the peas were growing successfully, our zucchini was not doing nearly as well.  Sadly, it was dying. Luckily one of the volunteers had some broccoli starters to replace our poor dead zucchini plants.

Another plant that was doing dangerously well was our mint plant, which was located in our herb barrel. Mint can be very invasive when growing in close proximity to other, more peaceable plants. Without our interference, the aggressive mint plant would quickly choke out its docile herb-barrel companions. We found it necessary to transplant our mint plant to its own little planter to thrive harmlessly.

Other activities of our work party include planting more salad greens (this time with adequate spacing to reduce the need for thinning later), planting raspberries, blueberries, and gooseberries, and lastly applying the bokashi to the surface of the beds.

A bucket of bokashi ready to be spread on our garden's beds.

  

Stay tuned for the next few posts, I’ll be wrapping up the narrative of the garden’s summer activities and perhaps giving you a sneak peak at what we are planning for next spring.

Post by Jasmine Woodland, Garden Media Coordinator

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